So tomorrow’s Juneteenth.
Corporate America is giving millions of American workers Friday off, in observance of June 19 on Saturday. Juneteenth marks the day in 1865, when Texan slaves learned they had been freed, two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863.
I expect that all these
not-so-little corporations of the world that have appropriated Pride with all the MMXXI thirst, and dressed themselves up from virtual head to brick-and-mortar toe in rainbows upon rainbow-horned unicorns, I dunno, to have a real crisis of persona coming up. Man, am I visualizing so many decision makers’ heads exploding all emoji-like in the shape of a brain-like mushroom cloud of angst incorporated. I mean, what…are they ever to do with two separate holiday opportunitie$ that “cater” to two different, yet not-too-separate communities simultaneously this weekend?
More than that, at least for today, today, a paid day off given to so many Americans with such a barely cursory understanding of what the day represents (and/or does not), the move feels hollow, even as Joe Biden & Co. aim to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, as well they should and for grace, already. The time is right now, alright, but, no…not only to have a holiday but to take a day – the way we have taken, oh, so many days for the Super Bowl (which we all know usually turns into a weekend or a week, if your city’s hosting) – to acknowledge, at last, the true cultural and spiritual magnitude of signing, sealing, and delivering said holiday, why don’t we.
Some of us are gaining a(nother) day off, and some of us are being seen anew.
And you best believe we can look forward and continue to demand justice. We want justice. For Sean Monterrosa. For George Floyd, still. For Marsha P. Johnson, for cryin’ out loud.
If anything, I reckon – hey there, isn’t that meant to be proper exercise for the occasion…reckoning? – there ought to be some sort of actual metrics measuring going on, you know…to maximize this quote-unquote day off. How else you gon’ reckon.
I have questions.
Like, will y’all be checking on how many white people will have decided to work anyway, since their Black peers have had to labor until their backs broke since the beginning of the country? Shall we count how many white workers will have declined the day off? And will factually correct educational and informational materials have been made available to our corporate villages? Everybody needs a souvenir, after all.
For some of us, our homework always has to be at the ready, you see. We gotta be and educate. Maybe, take the day not to be off but to plug onto someone else’s experience with and in their history and heritage. This day off is time we all have been given and invited to reclaim to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re going.
My color in the rainbow is a touch cynical. Chuck it to having had to digest the passing by the U.S. House of Representatives of the Equality Act last winter with a Marjorie Taylor Greene chaser. Senators, the time is right now. Just as it always has been.
Corporate reflection of our Pride is OK. Dropping a pin on the American federal timeline this Juneteenth matters and is OK.
Where we decide to go from here and how, now that’s the point of observing and celebrating. Happy Juneteenth! It is not the holiday we wanted, but it is the day we are getting.
Best to use it wisely.
P.S.: Today President Biden made it official, and Juneteenth, indeed, became the first federally approved holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established in 1983.